Orson Welles

1915 (Kenosha, Wis.) – 1985 (Los Angeles)

Welles imposed himself on screen, stage and radio. He said Ellington was the only genius he’d met, other than himself. Wilder helped him get started; Wright worked with him on a triumphant stage production. By the time they met, H. G. Wells had softened his antagonism to Welles’ famous adaptation of his novel. Huston directed him, as did Zinnemann, Nichols, Chabrol and most famously Reed — the over-sensitive Welles initially refusing to be filmed in the Vienna sewers. Armstrong knew him and collaborated on a project (ultimately compromised) about jazz history. He corresponded with Eisenstein, and as a stage act sawed Dietrich in half.

Orson Welles knew…